Two Up, Bags of Smoke

Wargame Rules Review

Two Up, Bags of Smoke Rules for WW2 by Ian Shaw.

Two Up, Bags of Smoke is a set of rules designed to recreate infantry combat at company level during World War Two. The rules are best used with 1:200 scale models, but are perfectly adaptable to 1:300 or 1:76 scale models. The ground scale is approximately equal to the model scale, and the time scale is thirty seconds per move. This restricts most artillery fire to programmed fire, or preplanned missions, due to the time required to plan a fire mission, which would be approximately twenty moves. Similarly, despite the availability of fairly reliable fast communications, once orders have been written they may not be changed, and the only variation is that units may halt in place, or withdraw from the table. Infantry fire is treated as both direct fire and area fire. The direct fire is limited, as in reality very few men ever aimed their weapons, in fact very few men ever fired. Also, unlike some rules which cover this area of combat, there is no provision for wounded troops. The reasoning behind this is simple, men who were hit either continued in combat, or were so seriously hit that they could not do so, and would take no further interest in the proceedings.

The rules cover pre-battle patrols, artillery preparations, and (optional) carpet bombing. Infantry sections must use proper formations like File or Line, Arrowhead or Spearhead (British), or Skirmish (German Schützenrudel), which reflect national doctrine. Armoured personnel carriers must remain within 100 meters of their platoon headquarters, soft transport may retire off table once passengers have been unloaded, tanks advance onto the game table from off-board positions, and radio-equipped forward observations teams must have a vehicle within 25 meters of their position to communicate with rear elements. These historically accurate restrictions create the exceptional in-period flavor of Two Up, Bags of Smoke.


  • Title: Two Up, Bags of Smoke
  • Period: World War Two
  • Type: Tactical Skirmish Wargame at Company Level
  • Time Scale: 1 turn = 30 seconds
  • Ground Scales: 1:100 (1 cm = 1 m), 1:200, or 1:300 (1 cm = 3 m)
  • Troop Scale: 1 figure = 1 man
  • Basing: single figures (1:76 scale), or fire team stands (1:300 scale)
  • Armour penetration benchmarks
    • Sherman vs. Lingèvres Panther: 70 % per game turn
  • Author: Ian Shaw
  • Format: 50-page rule book
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tabletop Games Ltd., Compton, Great Britain
  • Published: 1982


  1. Introduction
  2. Game Set-Up and Requirement
    • Scales
    • Equipment Required
    • Game Scenarios
    • Pre-Battle Actions
  3. Command Control and Communications
    • Section Formations
    • Platoon Formations
    • Restrictions on Formations Use
    • Defensive Formations
    • Restrictions on Spacing
    • Armoured Vehicles
    • Communications
    • Orders
  4. Move Sequence
    • Carry Out Pre-Battle Actions
    • Move Sequence
    • Final Move Phase
    • Initiative
    • Optional Firing Sequence
  5. Movement
    • Infantry and Animal Movement
    • Vehicle Movement
    • Terrain and Weather Effects on Movement
    • Moving in Bad Visibility
  6. Target Acquisition
    • Detection
    • Localization
    • Target Size
    • Examples of Target Location & Detection
  7. Direct Fire
    • Requirement for Direct Fire
    • Direct Fire Procedure
    • Direct Fire with Small Arms
    • Direct Fire with Heavy Weapons
    • Definitions
  8. Area Fire
    • Requirement for Area Fire
    • Small Arms Fire
    • Grenades and Rifle Grenades
    • Guns, Autocannon and Lt. Mortars
    • Suppression, Pinning, Neutralisation and Disablement
    • Effects on Cover
    • Flame Throwers
  9. Indirect Fire
    • Fire Missions
    • Requesting Fire
    • Factors for Indirect Fire
    • Area Covered by Indirect Fire
    • Scatter
  10. Area Fire Table
  11. Morale
    • Section Morale
    • Unit Morale
    • Examples of Morale
  12. Mines, Booby Traps, Demolitions
    • Mine Fields
    • Mine Clearance
    • Booby Traps
    • Demolitions
  13. Air Operations
    • Air Landing Operations
    • Glider Operations
    • Airbourne Command
    • Air Attacks
    • Anti-Aircraft Fire
  14. Data Tables
    • Anti-Tank Strike Values
    • Vehicle Data
    • Soft Transport
    • Artillery Data
    • Aircraft
    • Infantry Points
  15. Army Lists

The layout of Two Up, Bags of Smoke is sub-standard compared to other rule sets in its price range. Section headlines appear in the middle of a page with no spacing above or below. Subheadings are not even bolded. There are but two superfluous illustrations of an infantryman scaling a wall and a Churchill tank, when it would have been helpful to have illustrations of the different section formations. The quick reference tables at the end of the rules are badly printed and barely legible in parts. There are no quick reference charts to pull out. Sections 14.1 through 14.6 are erronously numbered 13.1 to 13.6 respectively. Copyright information is missing, and there is no contact address for support questions.

In 6.4 Direct Fire For Heavy Weapons, positive modifiers like firing at a large target or firing a second shot at the same target are expressed in negative numbers, and negative modifiers like firing on the move or firing at a moving target are expressed in positive numbers. This is bad practise. Gaming rules are easier to understand and remember if positive modifiers are routinely expressed as positive numbers, and negative modifiers correspond with negative numbers. This could have easily been done in Section 6.4 by having the firing player roll lower than the final to hit number, not higher. Squad Leader players appreciate the difference.

Two Up, Bags of Smoke is an excellent simulation of World War Two company level infantry combat. Ground scale matches figure scale, thereby eliminating the typical distortion of scale which wargamers have come to expect from miniatures rules. Since most gaming tables are relatively small, miniatures and vehicles will be in range of enemy weapons from turn one. This is not a problem if the table-top terrain is dense enough to conceal troops which are deployed less than 100 meters away from the nearest enemy position.

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